We rely on your reports of any natural or wildlife related items of interest.
Please pass your reports to Iain or John. See our Contacts page for details.

Latest News

Farm gates are closed for a reason - if you open one to get through then
Do NOT climb over gates or fences.

You can also find us on Facebook (@moffatwildlife) where you can read all about the latest work and sightings on Dyke Farm Nature Reserve. Click on the logo to go there.

If you wish to join our club (and new members are very welcome) application forms are available from the usual outlets. Alternatively, you can download an application form from here. The form is in Microsoft Word format so should be readily viewable/printable (if it opens in a 'protected view' mode there is usually an option to enable printing). Our membership fee for a year is currently £12 per adult (discounted to £20 for two adults living at the same address) but free for those under 16 years of age.
Non-members are also welcome at any of our meetings but are asked to pay an admission fee of a modest £3.00 per adult (free for those aged under 16).

Clicking on an image on our pages will give normally give an enlarged version (maximum 640 x 480 pixels approximately). Higher resolution images may be available on request (subject to the copyright holder's agreement) - contact John for details. If submitting photographs, cropping and/or resizing to a maximum of 640 pixels wide and maximum of 480 pixels high would be appreciated. This would save us work, is good enough for a computer display and lessens the chance of the image being 'stolen' for use elsewhere.

22nd October 2019
Latest update -

On Friday 13th September 250 Pink Footed Geese over the town early morning. At our first indoor meeting of the new season among sightings reported were Badgers digging up lawns along Old Carlisle Road and Ballplay Road while Sue Powell reported a Barn Owl at Annanside and a Goldcrest hit a window but recovered at Craigielands. Two days later were more Pinkfeet and there were 40 Swallows in the Mearsedale Park area on the 15th. At the Reserve on the 18th the young Swallows had fledged and left the top shed and the Teal numbers had risen to 7. Up the Gallow Hill area a pale coloured Red Fox had been seen and Grey Squirrel but no Reds. A Hedgehog was seen in Warriston Place on the 19th and more Badger activity was being noticed. At the Reserve on the 21st there were 21 Teal with very few House Martins and Swallows around though plenty darters, hawkers and Red Admiral butterflies around. A week later at the Reserve a Mute Swan landed on the wetland area with 10 Teal and a few Painted Lady butterflies around. The last Swallows were seen over St Marys Church and Beattock village on the 29th. To start October I saw 2 Red Kites over Hope Johnstone Park on the 1st and at the Reserve the following day were 17 Teal and 3 Mute Swan flew over. A Chiffchaff was calling up Haywood Road on the 4th and Garry saw the first returning Redwing with dozens at the Reserve the following day with 2 Roe Deer, 17 Teal, 2 Mute Swan and at least 50 Siskin flying in the woodland. A young Collared Dove was handed into the shop on the 7th, possibly breeding on the High Street trees. The next day at least 100 Siskin were in the Dowding House area and small groups of Redwing were passing over the town and on my road to Dumfries cash and carry there were a few Jays on the move. At the Community Reserve on the 9th there was a single Coot with 3 Little Grebe and a Cormorant while our Reserve held 10 plus Pheasant, 10 Long Tailed Tit and 2 Willow Tit. At the October meeting a Lesser Redpoll was reported seen at Torr Lodge, Alton Road. There were two possible Golden Eagle sightings over Moffat and Hartfell around this time. At our Reserve on the 12th were 4/5 Goldcrest, 2 Willow Tit and 2 Treecreeper at the Orchard feeding station with 17 Teal, a Buzzard and 8/9 Song Thrush feeding on Rowan berries. Garry had a Hobby in the Barnhill/The Toot area once again around this time also which was notable. Finally at the Reserve on the 19th were the first 40 Fieldfare of the Winter and the Siskin flock had grown to well over 100 birds.

13th September 2019
Latest update:
Two Red Kites were being reported regularly over the Golf Hill area while birds were also seen at various other sites in our area.....but no confirmed breeding unless anyone knows better. The following day at the Reserve the 6th brood of Mallard ducklings appeared on the middle pond while John Smith reported a Hedgehog in Greenwood Close.
At the Reserve on the 3rd Garry saw 3 Osprey in the area and I saw one while out delivering in the morning. On the 8th George Allan had a Red Kite above the Green Frog. Karen Hayley reported a brood of Mallards on their pond at Beattock on the 9th. On the 12th there were over 60 Swifts over the town with numbers boosted by youngsters. Scott Solley reported 2 Hedgehogs on the High Street late at night. Many people worried and disappointed by the lack of House Martins and Swallows in the area. Mr Kelland up at Blair Drummond House up Old School Lane saw his first Grey Squirrel in his garden. Wood Pigeon...in my opinion....are an increasing sight in local gardens throughout the town. Dropping water levels at the Reserve left some exposed mud and this attracted a few waders with a Common Sandpiper on the 13th while Jock also had an Oystercatcher and a Green Sandpiper which was the first for a long time. The Swallow brood in the Orchard shed was nearly fledging while Willow Tits were seen after a bit of a gap and the Whitethroat was still singing. Still 60 Swifts over the town on the 17th and I heard that one of the Osprey nests up Moffat Water fledged 3 young. On the 19th Lesley Robson up Hillside Terrace reported 2 broods of Pheasants in her garden. At the Reserve on the 20th were 2 very vocal young Peregrines flying over while a week later the Swallow brood had fledged and, after one failure, a pair of Spotted Flycatchers were feeding young in one of the open nest boxes. On the last day of the month while strimming at the Reserve a Barn Owl flew out of one of the larger nest boxes and there were loads of Tree/House Sparrows around.
On the 3rd at the Reserve a bat was flying over the wetland area at lunchtime while Swifts were disappearing fast and 80 Swallows/House Martins were up at Mearsdale. The last 2 Swifts were seen on the 12th. A Hedgehog was outside the shop on the morning of the 14th while on the 20th Garry had a Hobby at Birnock Water hunting Swallows and House Martins. On driving down to the Reserve about 8.30am on the 21st there were 280 Swallows and 40 House Martins on the wires and hunting over the fields, a great sight to see so many. The first 3 returning Teal were on the Reserve on the 24th with a welcome record of a Small Copper butterfly. The second brood of 3 Swallows in our Orchard shed were doing well on the 28th with 2 Teal, 16 Long Tailed Tits, 2 Buzzard and a young Peregrine around the area.
On the morning of the 1st 30 Greylag Geese flew over Meadow Bank/Rise area. At the bottom of Old School Lane 40 odd Siskins were flying around. While out early morning of the 4th, 40 Pink Footed Geese flew over Ballplay Tennis Courts and down at the Reserve 50 House Martins were in the area with 5 Teal on the wetland area. Richard Clarkson reported an Osprey fishing on Loch Skeen on the 11th while Jean Hunter-Grant saw a Grey Squirrel on the cycle path opposite the turn off for Beattock

28th July 2019
Access to our reserve has changed.
Some of our visitors have left gates either open or not properly secured so George Paterson, who has kindly allowed us access for many years, has decided that access should only be via one route with a minimum of field gates to negotiate. We fully agree with his decision.
The main change is that the route via the 'kissing' gate at the roadside ('red' route on our map) has been discontinued so access across/through the field is no longer to be used. To gain access, travel a further 100 metres down the road (towards the Community Nature Reserve) to the 'finger post' sign and enter the field there via the field gate (bolt fastening) at the fingerpost sign. Visitors should ensure that this gate is closed and fully bolted before proceeding. At the second gate along this route, some 50 yards on, the former field gate entry (often left unsecured by visitors) has been replaced by a new 'kissing gate' entry.
A new map will be produced in due course.

11th July 2019
Further to previous information, our Coffee Morning is now scheduled for Saturday, 2nd May 2020 at the usual venue - 10.30am in Moffat Town Hall.

28th June 2019
Latest update from Iain -
There were 10 Greylag Geese on the Reserve on the 10th while a few days later on the 13th there were 3 Sand Martin, a Swallow, 2 Greylags and all the usual Willow Tits and Tree Sparrows. On the 16th Garry had 12 Swallows and 2 Goldeneye on Loch of the Lowes while a farm in that area held 6 pairs of Lapwing and a pair of Curlew. The following day at the Reserve the first Mallard brood appeared with 6 ducklings while there were 5 Greylags and 2 Red Kites above the Orchard area. On the 27th a second Mallard brood was on the wetland with Grasshopper Warbler, Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler and Blackcap around while Barn Owls were on eggs in one of the nest boxes.
At the Community Reserve there was a juvenile Mute Swan, Grey Heron, 2 Little Grebe and 2 Oystercatchers with 4 Greylags and a brood of Moorhens on our Reserve. Allan Henderson reported a Cuckoo near Biggar on the 2nd and Garry had a Swift over Well View on the 3rd and a Sedge Warbler on the Community Reserve. Summer migrants included 20 odd House Martins on the 4th moving through early morning and at Bankend on the 6th were 2 male Pied Flycatchers calling while myself and Jim Marrs both had 2 Swifts over the town on the 7th. Doing my two paper rounds everyday I have noticed Magpies all over the town but I have also noticed many more Wood Pigeons in the town than ever before and Collared Doves appear to be doing pretty well too. While on an early morning survey to the North of the town Jon Haydon and Dave Dick saw 4 male and 2 female Black Grouse on the 14th. The day after at the Reserve were 6 Greylags, Oystercatcher, 2 broods each of Mallard and Moorhen, very few Sand Martins around....a few pairs have nested but we will need to improve the Nesting Bank for future years. Butterflies around the Reserve this day were Peacock, Red Admiral and Orange-tip. Two Cuckoos were heard locally on the 16/17th by Maurice Henderson and Christine Cameron from Craigeck and Archbank. Many people have been in worried about a lack of Swallows and House Martins in our area. At the Reserve we left open a small door above the Orchard shed and they are currently nesting while at Willowbank up Beechgrove this house has 14 House Martins nesting which do make a mess but surely we can let these two birds nest in and on some of our buildings and sheds before we lose them?? At the Reserve on the 22nd were 2 Spotted Flycatcher and a Pied Flycatcher singing.....unfortunately it did not attract a female again this year. On the 25th our 4th brood of Mallards appeared with our 3rd Moorhen family with 8 Greylags and 2 Canada Geese, 2 Oystercatcher, Curlew and 14 Lesser Black Backed, Great Black Backed and Herring Gulls around. A Whitethroat was calling from the middle pond. An impressive 24 Greylags were on the Reserve on the 29th but despite such numbers this year none bred this year after 2 pairs nesting on the Community Reserve last year. On the 30th a Brown Hare was at Oakbank near Dumcrieff.
At the Reserve on the 1st a flock of well over 60 Greylags flew over which was notable with a further 8 on the wetland and two 7-spot Ladybirds were up in the Orchard area. At Oakbank on the 11th was the Brown Hare and a Grey Squirrel. While out on my rounds I see the local Swifts above the town and I estimate at least 15-17 breeding pairs. John Smith had a Grey Wagtail inhis garden on the 14th with a male Siskin.....the first for many many weeks though recently I have seen quite a few visiting feeding stations. On the 16th Alan Smith reported seeing a Jay at Tathhill, Red Kite over the old School Playing field and a Great Spotted Woodpecker close by. While out on my rounds on the morning of the 19th 4 Crossbills were feeding on grit at Birnock Bridge beside the old Ballplay Tennis courts. On the 23rd Gerry Aust reported a Grey Squirrel at The Whins while a Red Squirrel was seen by Lorne Campbell at the Old Beattock House crossing the road.

As an interesting sideline, the Palmate Newts in John's pond up Greenwood Close have taken quite a hammering this year. Virtually every day over the past couple of weeks one or two have been grabbed by Blackbirds that are more than willing to plunge into the water to make a catch. Not something you may expect from Blackbirds but is actually quite commonplace, probably mostly while there are youngsters to feed. The predation seems to have stopped now, either no more need to catch them or they have run out of newts!

23rd June 2019
Programme changes! Not unexpected as speakers' commitments can change. Hopefully it is now settled but do keep an eye in case of further changes. Current version is on our 'Events' page. Sadly, we do not yet have a confirmed date for our Coffee Morning but we should have it soon.

2nd June 2019
Our programme for next season, starting on 13th September, is now almost completed. Some may yet be changed and there is still one date to fill. To see what is planned so far, have a look at our "Events" page.

6th May 2019
Our Coffee Morning on Saturday raised the total sum of £1928
This will, of course, help us greatly with the upkeep of our Dyke Farm Nature Reserve for the benefit of wildlife and visitors alike.
As always, our grateful thanks go to all concerned - contributors, customers, and all those who manned the stalls and served the refreshments.

8th April 2019
In February at the Reserve the 2 Willow Tits were regular throughout with the Tree Sparrows more regular and 2 Treecreeper on the feeders at times. On the 8th an Otter was seen again at Craigielands and a few Brambling were in various gardens but not many birds. On my way back from Dumfries on the 11th there was a Red Kite near the Burrance of Courance and Oystercatchers over the High Street at 5am the following day. At the Community Reserve on the 16th there were 2 Lapwing over the lochan which were the first that I had seen for many years in our district while there were also 4 Cormorant, 8 Little Grebe, 9 Canada Geese, 3 Greylag Geese, 5 Mallard, 2 Teal and 15 Oystercatcher. On our reserve were 2 Oystercatcher, 30 Mallard and 19 Teal. Garry was at the Community Reserve on the 19th and there were 3 Lapwing, 4 Greylag Geese and 6 Whooper Swans while the following day there were 15 Oystercatcher, 7 Little Grebe , 4 Mallard, 6 Teal, 3 Canada Geese and a Greylag. On the Reserve were 3 Nuthatch, 2 Willow Tit, 4 Long Tailed Tits and a Kingfisher. While out on my paper round on the 22nd a massive movement of over 5500 Pink Footed Geese moved over in 40 minutes. The next day a Bumblebee was reported and frog spawn was also seen while at the Reserve were 2 Greylags, 17 Teal, Buzzard, female Sparrowhawk and 12 Tree Sparrow. Garry saw a Red Admiral and a honey bee on the 25th. At the Community Reserve on the 27th were 2 Cormorant, 7 Little Grebe, 14 Mallard, 2 Canada Geese, 4 Teal, 19 Oystercatcher and 2 Grey Heron while on our Reserve were 22 Teal, 40 Mallard, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and 60 Siskin.
The start of March produced 7 Curlew flying over the Reserve on the 2nd with 2 Canada Geese, 4 Whooper Swan, 40 Mallard and 27 Teal. Garry reported a Golden Plover flying over the town and Tom Thomson had dozens of Siskin and 4 Lesser Redpoll in his garden. A Red Kite was over the Gallow Hill on the 3rd and a fortnight later Alan Smith saw 2 Red Kite over Oakrigg Farm on the 17th. Ron Lewis-Smith reported a Green Woodpecker near Alton on the 22nd and another was seen near Johnstonebridge motorway services on the 26th. The same day Mrs Ritson reported a Red Kite up the Golf Course Road. In the morning there were thousands of Pink Footed Geese moving North and a large flock of over 70 Whooper Swans while a sign of Spring with Chiffchaffs calling at Heatheryhaugh and at the old Ballplay Tennis courts and another at the Community Reserve the following day on the 27th with 7 Oystercatcher, 4 Cormorant, 11 Greylags, female Goosander, 3 Little Grebe and 2 Teal. At the Reserve were 2 Willow Tit, 2 Bullfinch, 20 Mallard, 4 Teal, 2 Greylags, 2 Oystercatcher and 2 Grey Heron. Garry briefly had a Stork in the Wamphray area migrating which was noteable. The following day at the Reserve a single Sand Martin was around with 4 Chiffchaff and 3 Greenfinch.
Richard Clarkson reported 2 Red Kites over the Reserves on the 2nd April and Wheatear and Ring Ousel were back at the Grey Mares Tail. Red Kites were also recorded in the Wamphray area by Maurice Henderson on the 4th and I saw an Osprey on the morning of the 6th. Today the 8th produced 2 Red Kites seen by George Allan up Annan Water and they showed really well, while in the morning I saw 14 Whooper Swans heading North.

And a supplement from John Smith -
After a very boring winter, first frog of the year in our Greenwood Close pond on 6th Feb, the occasional one or two until the 25th with a large clump of spawn appearing on the 23rd. The 25th saw a major influx with some 30+ counted, then went quiet until the2nd of March with easily 40+ each day until the 9th. Nothing further until the day after Storm Gareth with an invasion of perhaps a 100 or more on the 13th. From there, all gone. Red Kite seen drifting over Moffat in a SE to NW direction on 20th March. Blackcap seen twice in the garden on the 24th. During warmer days, one or two Peacock butterflies going about, also quite a few Bumblebees. All the Bumblies that I got close to turned out to be Tree Bumblebees, not the expected white-tailed variety. Chiffchaff calling occasionally during the past week and my first Swallow on Well road by Mill Green. Good news also in that our garden has been visited by a Hedgehog recently, overnight on 4th/5th and again 6th/7th, a change from the occasional Badger and neighbourhood moggies that my night camera usually gets! Very pleased to see Hedgehogs as they seem very scarce nowadays. Also had a Roedeer pass through just after 06.15 this morning.

11th March 2019
Now have the annual mammal report fro D&G 2018 from Andy Riches. The report, in PDF format is, unfortunately, a bit too big to include on our site. Instead, here is a link to a Dropbox store where you can download it yourself. You do NOT need a Dropbox account to get it, simply ignore prompts to sign in or sign up and just go for the 'download' button.

Also from Andy, a very handy guide to identifying mammals to be found in D&G and includes pictures of the mammals and signs to look for. Again in PDF format, it is recommended reading, You can access it here but it is also available under the 'Advice' button on our menu at the left.

8th February 2019
Latest from Iain -
Apologies for no update for a very long time. On November 6th near Barnhill Garry saw 9 Brambling and I saw 4 in the Dowding House area while Tom Thomson had 2 in his garden and the following day at the Reserve were another 3 Brambling with 17 Teal. The following day on the 8th a Red Kite was seen up Annan Water and I saw 4 Ravens over the town. Grey Squirrels were seen along Ballplay Road, Gallow Hill, Auchencastle and Lawesknowe area. An Otter was seen in Craigielands Pond. At the Reserve on the 10th were the usual mix of 2 Willow Tit, 6 Pheasant, 11 Long Tailed Tit, 4 Goldcrest, 5 Tree Sparrow, 7 Teal, 3 Grey Heron, 2 Jay, 5 Magpie and a Roe Deer. Grey Squirrels featured on the 12th being seen up the second Waterside, Golf Course Road and Gallow Hill again. Ravens were being seen most mornings. A male Merlin was seen by Garry at the top end of the Reserve on the 15th and a small mixed flock of Meadow Pipit and Skylark. At the Reserve on the 24th were 2 Reed Bunting, 3 Brambling, 2 Willow Tit and a Common Snipe was flushed by Jon Haydon up in the Orchard. On the 27th a Cormorant was flying up the River Annan while Red Squirrels were reported at Moorlands and Annanwater Schoolhouse and Christine Cameron saw 2 Grey Squirrels up Gallow Hill. On the 28th the Reserve held 2 Willow Tit, 2 Bullfinch, 6 Pheasant, 7 Teal and 6 Long Tailed Tit.
Into December and at the Reserve on the 8th were 40 Teal and 14 Mallard attracted to the opened up wetland area and 5 Tree Sparrow. Garry saw a juvenile Whooper Swan at the Community Reserve on the 14th and a few Meadow Pipits and early in the morning of the 28th I heard Canada Geese calling from the same location while people observed a movement of geese over the town. The last sightings for the year were from the Reserve on the 29th with 2 Wilow Tit, 3 Tree Sparrow, 25 Mallard and 7 Teal.
At our club meeting on the 11th January there was a report from Garry of a family of Whooper Swans on Loch of the Lowes and after reporting that I had heard Tawny Owls calling from Dumcrieff, Nethermiln Meadows and Haywood Road while on my paper round it was clear that Tawny Owl numbers were well down. The following day at the Reserve was a great mix of birds including 2 Willow Tit, 15 Teal, 3 Buzzard, 1 Sparrowhawk, 5 Tree Sparrow, 2 Grey Heron, 3 Fieldfare, 7 Redwing, 40 plus Siskin, 5 Long Tailed Tit, 2 Treecreeper, 9 Stock Dove, 1 Jay and 7 Magpies. At the Community Reserve on the 19th were a male Goldeneye, 11 Mallard and 7 Little Grebe while on our Reserve were 2/3 Willow Tit, 6 Tree Sparrow, 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Buzzard, 12 Teal, 2 Grey Heron and a Cormorant flew overhead. On the 26th Richard Bligh reported that he had seen an Oystercatcher at one of the timber yards near Lockerbie where he works which was about 3 weeks early. Allan Henderson reported hearing a Tawny Owl from his house in St Ninians Road which was the first that he had heard for a long time. My sister had 15 Blackbirds in her garden up Dundanion Road. At the Reserve I was lucky enough to see a Red Kite pass over with a Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk also around with 4 Nuthatch, 2 Willow Tit, 2 Treecreeper, 7 Tree Sparrow, 2 Bullfinch, 4 Long Tailed Tit, 15 Teal, 45 Mallard, 5 Moorhen, 2 Grey Heron, 7 Stock Dove, 11 Pheasant and many Pink Footed Geese moving overhead. While coming back from Dumfries on the morning of the 28th I was pleased to see a flock of 30-40 Lapwing near the Burrance of Courance and the following day Garry had 7 Crossbill in the tall fir tees along the Ballplay Road. To finish off January Jon Haydon had 3 Brambling in his garden on the 31st up Beechwood and Tom Thomson had his first Reed Buntings of the Winter in his garden.

6th January 2019
Another year comes upon us. Have no recent updates on sightings to post at the moment so this page is somewhat sparse!

NOTE - our next meeting (11th January) will again be downstairs in the Buccleuch Arms Hotel. This is likely to be the venue for all our future meetings.

All our information from last year has now been archived but is still available through the 'Archives' button on our menu on the left.